Exclusive: Man tells LBC domestic abuse perpetrator programme 'saved his life'

11 December 2020, 10:53 | Updated: 11 December 2020, 10:55

By Elizabeth Baines

LBC has been given exclusive access to a domestic abuse perpetrator programme, where one man who has been taking part said it "saved his life".

"Something stupid would have happened. Whether it was alcohol related or if I'd have ended up in prison I don't know but it definitely would have been negative without this course," he told LBC.

To protect his identity and the identity of his victims, his image has been blurred and his voice changed.

For the last year, he has been forced to confront his behaviour through the programme run by Inspire North and the Foundation Charity.

"Looking back I feel embarrassed, I look and I think oh god was that really me?

"If I could take that year out of my life. I'm embarrassed to call myself a husband or a dad when I was like that, it was disgraceful and I know now, I would never act like that again. Ever."

Through the coronavirus pandemic, the government has said there has been a rise in the number of calls to domestic abuse charities of 46%.

To tackle it, £7.17m has been awarded to Police and Crime Commissioners across the country for perpetrator programmes.

The man also revealed he did find it difficult to start coming to the programme in the first place.

"I just refused you know, I just thought 'that isn't for me I'm not that kind of person', I think I was blind to how I was behaving you know, I couldn't see from the other side of the glass," he said.

"It was more to shut people up rather than actually fix myself because I thought I was alright you know, to get people off my back and then when I actually started doing it I started to actually think, oh one second, am I alright?"

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According to Tammy Bolton, the project manager for Domestic Abuse Services at Inspire North and the Foundation Charity, many abusers struggle to face up to their behaviour.

"One of the criteria for perpetrators working with us on the programme is that they do recognise their behaviour is abusive," she explained.

"It can be really difficult and the level of recognition changes throughout the duration of the programme.

"It's very emotional for them, particularly when we discuss their roles of being a father and the impact it has on children".

Calls to domestic abuse charities have risen by 46% during the pandemic
Calls to domestic abuse charities have risen by 46% during the pandemic. Picture: PA

The man said his family can see the difference since he started going to the domestic abuse perpetrator programme.

"They all appreciate it, it's like I was two completely different people, it's like I’m back," he told LBC.

"The dad before, the dad I was being wasn't a father and didn't deserve to be a father or a husband. Maybe he deserved to be in prison.

Independent researcher, Bernard Gallagher said: "It's not any exaggeration, this is a life and death issue.

"Women are killed every week in this country because of domestic abuse and many more lives are being ruined so I think it's absolutely essential these areas are funded, but also far more money is put into this area of work."

According to government, independent research has shown these programmes cut the risk of physical abuse by 82%.